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Sasayaki's page

Goblin Squad Member. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 40 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Pathfinder Society characters.

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Mythic Monsters: Abyssal

****( )

Disclaimer: I downloaded this based on a recommendation from Alistair Rigg, but I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.

Mythic Monsters: Abyssal is a surprisingly long supplement designed to employ the Mythic rules of the Pathfinder RPG. It clocks in at 38 pages and has a large amount of searchable text which details 13 new or modified monsters, and this is the core of the book. It took me a few days to get through, especially since I'm not currently using the Mythic rules, but if your campaign does use them this sourcebook would be very useful (but see some caveats below).

The supplement begins much as one would expect. An introduction to the book and what it contains, some background into the Mythic rules, and a nice little bonus; any hyperlinks in the book go straight to the Pathfinder Reference Document, making running these monsters much easier. The slacker GM in me approves.

Some of the informative text, especially in the "What You Will Find Inside Mythic Monsters: Abyssal" section, uses a voice that takes a little bit of getting used to. I prefer the tone of a sourcebook, outside of flavour pieces, to be dry and clinical so this was a little off-putting, but some may value the more vibrant tone.

What I really loved though was the essay, presented as transcripts of lectures, regarding one of the monsters, the Ylyrgoi Qlippoth. This was rich and flavourful and could easily be dropped into any campaign I was running that used this monster. In all honesty, I felt this was one of the highlights of the work. I wanted to see more of this.

If you're more interested in the crunch and running a Mythic campaign, this sourcebook will be quite valuable (and the essays within are perfect for dropping into any campaign that uses these mechanics). I won't go into too much detail about the monsters -- the less publically said about their tricks, the better -- but sufficient to say I was nodding my head in approval more than a few times and my overall impression is that this is where the majority of the work for the piece went, which is good to see. After all, in a sourcebook about monsters, one would expect some very fine monsters indeed, and Mythic Monsters: Abyssal didn't disappoint.

The editing of the piece was excellent. I did not find any awkward sentences, nor obvious typos, and the mechanics of the monsters were clearly thought out and presented by obvious veterans of the game who loved their craft. At the end of the day, this is a sourcebook for "drop-in" Mythic monsters, and serves this purpose admirably. I thought that the piece could stand to use justified text in its two-column sections, instead of ragged edges, but that's a minor nitpick. There was also some minor font inconsistency (Conjuring Qlippoth uses a different font from Mythic Abyssal Monsters) but the formatting was on the whole fairly good and consistent with Pathfinder's offerings.

I was disappointed in the lack of artwork. The book points out these monsters already have artwork in the Core Rulebook and other places, but in my opinion a sourcebook that is largely rules requires a slightly more aggressive price point to justify a purchase. As it stands, the fluff was sufficiently interesting that I was satisfied, but I would have appreciated more visual pretties. Accordingly, I felt that the price point, $6.99 at the time of launch, was high for a document that contained little to no original artwork (and what it did contain was low resolution and blocky). As a GM I enjoy extracting the images of NPCs and monsters, if time allows, and showing them to my players. The images included, including formatting and page-fluff, was insufficiently detailed for printing. That's a shame.

It was particularly disappointing that the cover and contents artwork was so low resolution, while the advertisements that covered the last few pages were much clearer. Perhaps I have been spoiled by other digital offerings, but I did expect what images were included to be at least suitable for printing, especially as to the best of my knowledge file size doesn't affect author royalties. More pixels would be appreciated.

My final thoughts are that Mythic Monsters: Abyssal is solid, does exactly what it promises, and presents a number of intriguing Mythic versions of Abyssal creatures in an easily digestible, searchable, well balanced format that is suitable for any campaign using Mythic rules (or any GM who wishes to dabble in the same). In terms of star ratings I gave it:

Fluff: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Crunch: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Look+Feel: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Editing: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Value: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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Excellent Flavour, Brutal Combat

****( )

I had the pleasure of playing this mod at the Ruby Phoenix convention in Sydney. I'd travelled from Darwin to attend the con, so I was really stoked that a lot of high quality modules were on offer... including Cult of the Ebon Destroyers.

The lead-in to the mod is excellent. There's a lot of flavour and a real sense of 'you are there' put into the module, with a lot of nice touches like pre-generated divinations and the like. That made my day. It can be frustrating, though... this module has a reputation for being very tough, but the first part really requires a social face, a skill/knowledge type person and someone who can cast divinations. This might suggest that it's a social module where you can bring your "non-combat characters" and have a ball, and for a time it seems like you're right.

Then the combat hits, and wow. It's brutal stuff.

Extremely high AC combat munchkins coming pre-buffed, lots of monks with moderately difficult fort saves (fighter-types need only roll 1s to fail, but there are a lot of them), and you're fighting in their home territory so the terrain is perfectly geared towards maximising their advantages.

We had a very optimized party (although we lacked ranged and/or arcane support) and we couldn't complete the module. We had two PC deaths including our two toughest characters, and the rest of the party were stat-drained/negative levelled to the point they were ineffective.

That said...

The combats are unique. Flavourful. Interesting. And, one must remember, you're fighting a death cult. They're not weak and soft and squishy -- properly run, they should go for the throat at all times, including coup-de-grace and other such things. They're death cultists and should be played appropriately.

The lead-in was extremely flavourful, the roleplaying was excellent, and the overall story remarkable in its execution. I think the only bad thing I have to say about this module is that it needed to decide if it was a social/investigative or a combat-fest... it tried to be both, and while it pulled it off really nicely, you have to bring a fully optimized party to this or you're going to either get stuck in the first half or die horribly in the second.

But what's the point of playing Pathfinder if there's not a chance of death?

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